PMMI’s annual Executive Leadership Conference (ELC) (April 4-5; Aventura, Fla.) helped members look beyond U.S. borders and cast a critical eye on their operations while building their networks and considering strategies to grow their businesses.
Debuting a condensed format designed to help attendees get back to the office and put their ideas in action, this year’s conference drew attention to a range of internal and external issues that will impact members’ growth and growth strategies.
“I learned a lot at the ELC this year, from the importance of export markets to the growing popularity of private brands,” said PMMI Chairman Nick Wilson. “The line up the Program Committee put together had a great balance of big picture and data-driven presentations as any I’ve seen, and I got back to the office with ideas I’m ready to implement.”
The meeting kicked off with author Tom Peters discussing the pursuit of excellence, and focusing on the importance of implementation. He was adamant that the people on the ground, from plant staff to sales staff, and their immediate supervisors are the people who make success happen.
Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, joined members later in the day to discuss the importance of international markets. His presentation covered a range of topics from stagnant domestic gas taxes to pending free trade agreements with Colombia and North Korea, which, he indicated, are critical to continuing success in U.S. manufacturing.
Westat Senior Staff Consultant Phil Kuehl and ConAgra Foods Senior Director of Continuous Improvement Peter Hock brought the customer voice to the meeting. Kuehl reviewed high-level results of PMMI’s end user surveys and explored methods for factoring that insight into growth strategies, while Hock discussed the challenges ConAgra has faced on the plant floor and what the company expects from its partners.
Patrick Walsh, senior vice president of industry relations, education and research for the Food Marketing Institute, also provided insight on one of the packaging and processing industries’ fastest growing customer classes: private brands.
The meeting closed with shirtsleeve sessions to review the week’s insights and major themes, and helped attendees focus on action items to take back to the office.
“The Executive Leadership Conference always provides me the valuable insight I need to run my business,” Wilson added. “And this year was no exception.”
For those who were unable to attend, or for those who want revisit them, the Chairman’s Report video is available online at YouTube.com, and PMMI members can download full presentations from the meeting at www.pmmi.org/elc2011